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1 800 Phone Number - Benefits of a Business 1 800 Phone Number - What is a 1 800 Phone Number?

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In today’s competitive marketplace, every little advantage can mean pulling in the customers and clients before your competition gets a hold on them. Marketing and a visible presence can make a dramatic effect on your company’s bottom line. One of the best ways to make yourself visible and easy-to-reach is by purchasing a 1 800 phone number for your business. A 1 800 phone number or other toll-free number has several advantages that are well-worth the costs.

What is a 1 800 Phone Number?

The 1 800 system was invented in 1978 and at first was exclusively available only through AT&T during the U.S. telephone services monopoly. The number allows anyone to call from anywhere in the country from any phone, including pay phones, without the caller having to pay any long distance charges. Instead, the person assigned the number pays a fee per call.

After the break-up of AT&T, the FCC made the numbers available to other companies, but each specific number belonged to the provider. The FCC ordered providers to allow 1 800 phone number portability in 1991, so today, businesses can keep the same telephone number even if they move locations or change phone service providers. This is one of the top advantages of the service for a business. Keeping contact information constant can be critical to customer retention.

Around the same time, the FCC also allowed users to choose from any available number. This began the real toll-free number boom because businesses could now order vanity numbers that were easy to remember or that spelled out key words or their business name with the corresponding phone number alphabet.

While the 1 800 phone number is the oldest of the toll-free prefixes. It is not the only choice available. Because of the surging popularity in the 1 800 number, additional prefixes had to be added, the first of which was the 1 888 number. Soon afterward, that was followed by the addition of the 1 877 number and the 1 866 number. As of this writing, 1 855 toll-free numbers are scheduled to be released by the FCC on October 1, 2010.

Using a 1 800 Phone Number

Providing a 1 800 phone number for your clients and customers creates a huge incentive for them to call you. This is especially effective when you have clients outside your local area. No longer do they have to consider the price of the call to discuss business with you. Purchasing a 1 800 phone number is like extending a hand to customers and prospective clients. It is like meeting them halfway before they even set out.

Having a 1 800 phone number is also beneficial when you have a number of employees that regularly work outside your local area. This can increase productivity because calling the home office no longer needs to be tracked or expensed.

Many businesses use more than one 1 800 phone number. This allows them to engage in aggressive marketing and data-gathering practices. Using a different 1 800 number for different marketing strategies or marketing areas is a good way to track response rates.

Costs of a 1 800 Phone Number

1 800 phone number costs are considered to be very low for what they are capable of providing a business. The exact rates vary from state-to-state and by local areas. At the high end, rates can be 42 cents per minute. At the low end, rates are a mere 7 cents per minute. It is also worth noting that not all telephone service providers in the same area charge the same rate. When deciding to go with a 1 800 number, it is important to shop around and compare the prices of each provider.

Other fees associated with a 1 800 number can also be charged above and beyond the monthly rate. Some providers have a fee for being listed in their directory that can be as high as $20 per month. Some providers charge a general monthly fee that cannot be avoided. Calling features can also be added to the line for an additional charge.

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